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ADT Security vs. Vivint Smart Home

SafeWise puts leading home security companies Vivint and ADT head to head to compare pricing, contracts, equipment, home automation, and customer service.
Written by | Updated February 6, 2020
Winner
Vivint Smart Home
  • Month-to-month contract options
  • Low monitoring fees
  • Month-to-month contract options
  • Low monitoring fees
ADT Home Security
  • Over 140 years of security experience
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Over 140 years of security experience
  • 24/7 customer service

ADT has been around longer than most home security companies, but there’s a new kid on the block. Out of all of the competitors in ADT’s neighborhood, Vivint Smart Home stands out as the most formidable.

Vivint home security and ADT are both professionally installed, but Vivint’s approach to contract options and unique equipment puts it lightyears ahead of ADT.

Vivint’s smart home and home security equipment are designed in-house, allowing the company to distribute new and innovative products more frequently than others like ADT. Both companies offer equipment for home automation and security, but you get more for your money with Vivint Smart Home.

Learn more as we put Vivint Smart Home and ADT head to head on prices, equipment, policies and more in this review.

Pricing and Plans Comparison

Monthly Monitoring Fee
Installation Fee
Equipment Owned or Leased
Included Equipment
Contract Length
Vivint SmartHome ADT
$29.99 $36.99
$99 $99
Owned Leased
SkyControl* app
SmartHome app
4 door/window sensors
1 motion sensor
Window stickers
Keypad alarm with backup battery
Entryway contacts
Motion detector
Keychain remote
ADT sign and decals
3.5 to 5 years if financed 3 years
Visit Vivint Visit ADT

Data as of 01/20/2020, information is subject to change. 

*SkyControl™ is a trademark of Vivint SmartHome.

ADT’s starting price of $36.99 is for the Complete Monitoring Bundle landline package. If you want a cellular system from ADT, packages start at $44.99

What Do Vivint and ADT Have in Common?

Similarities between ADT and Vivint mostly have to do with devices and installation. Here are the main points where they align:

  • Professional installation
  • Wireless equipment
  • Smart home Z-Wave devices
  • Mobile app
  • Professional monitoring
  • Installation fees

 

How Are Vivint and ADT Different?

The most obvious differences between the two companies show up when you compare pricing and contracts. Here are a few points where Vivint and ADT differ:

  • Plans and packages
  • Contract length
  • Monthly monitoring fees
  • Equipment ownership
vivint security control panel

Vivint at a Glance

It only takes one look at the Vivint website to see that Vivint is all about smart home automation. The company earned our top spot for the Best Smart Home Security Systems because of its smart-home focus. You won’t find any budget-friendly basic security options with this company: even Vivint’s most basic packages include remote access to your security system through a mobile app. Its devices all use Z-Wave technology, so they’re compatible with a wide variety of other smart products on the market, including Amazon Echo, Nest®, Google Home, and doorbell cameras.

Unlike other home security companies, Vivint doesn’t have prepackaged plans. Instead, you buy only the equipment you need. You can pay for it up front or have the cost rolled into your monthly monitoring fee. But keep in mind that if you finance the equipment, you’ll be locked into a monitoring contract that can last for 3.5 or 5 years, depending on how quickly you want to pay off your equipment. If you don’t finance, you can pay for monitoring month by month. Contract flexibility makes Vivint a great option if you don’t want to be stuck with a long-term contract.

Get more information in our full Vivint review

Pros

  • Z-Wave technology
  • Smart home expertise
  • Professional installation
  • Flexible contracts
  • SkyControl panel

Cons

  • No budget-friendly basic security packages
  • Long contracts
ADT Command bundle

ADT at a Glance

ADT has been a leader in home security for decades, but its lengthy contracts are a turnoff for a lot of people. ADT has six redundant monitoring centers to make sure you’re never without help in an emergency, and its longstanding experience in the security field is a definite plus.

ADT has five monitored plans with all the essentials and some add-ons to boot. It also gives you the option for a landline connection if you live in an area with poor cell reception. Like Vivint, ADT offers live video, app control, and home automation, but you might pay a bit more for these features. The equipment that comes with ADT’s cellular plans are Z-Wave and Alexa compatible, so you can control your system with your voice.

No matter what kind of system you choose, you’ll have to sign a monitoring contract with ADT before your system is installed. Contracts are for a minimum of three years, and you’ll also have to pay for the cost of leasing the equipment up front. One standout feature of ADT’s contracts is the six-month money-back guarantee—if you decide you don’t like your system or service, you can cancel it at any time within six months after you sign the contract (certain restrictions apply). ADT will refund any monitoring fees.

Get more information in our full ADT review

Pros

  • Strong reputation
  • Fast response times
  • Multiple monitoring centers
  • Professional installation

Cons

  • Long-term contracts
  • Upgrade required for smoke and CO monitoring
  • Expensive monthly monitoring
  • No trial period

The Bottom Line

As much as we love ADT’s strong reputation, Vivint provides the same smart devices with reliable monitoring for a lower price. Vivint’s à la carte approach lets you choose the equipment you want, so you’re getting only what you need. With Vivint you’ll own the equipment, but with ADT it’s only a lease. On the other hand, ADT has a longstanding reputation that can’t be ignored. Its equipment is consistently high quality, and its customer service is top notch.

Price and Contract: Vivint

Vivint wins easily when it comes to flexibility and low prices. With Vivint, there’s no up-front cost for a system, and even if you roll in financing, your monthly fee will be lower than it would be with ADT.

Customer Service: ADT

We’ll give this one to ADT. Around-the-clock customer service, good reviews, and many loyal long-term customers are a solid indication that ADT stands by its products.

Features:Vivint

 Vivint just barely wins this one thanks to the SkyControl panel. Its two-way talk feature lets you speak to a monitoring professional when your alarm goes off.

Overall Winner: Vivint (but it’s close)

If you’re looking for cheaper prices, flexible financing, and shorter contract options, Vivint comes out on top in this face-off. But if you can pay up front and you’re ready to settle into a long-term relationship with a company with a great track record, ADT might be the better choice.  

Written by Katie McEntire

Katie McEntire has tested home security systems in her own apartment, installed GPS trackers in her own car, and watched her cat, Toki, nap all day through a live nanny cam feed. As an expert reviewer, she believes that firsthand experience is the best way to learn about new products (even if it requires being the guinea pig). She specializes in pet safety and DIY security and has contributed to publications like DigitalCare.org and TechGuySmartBuy. Learn more

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  • Nathan Oshaben

    Katie, this information is false. You are completely neglecting the price of equipment that you MUST finance with Vivint, that ads usually an additional $30+ a month. You also claim that ADT equipment is leased. That is 100% false. It is owned outright. I’m also not sure what ADT equipment you’re reviewing, as almost ALL ADT providers, including Safe Streets, who is not that significant anymore, has very state of the art equipment and home automation. What you should be comparing additionally is the quality of monitoring being done as well as the BBB accreditation. You may also want to consider that Vivint is STILL cutting corners, after losing $10,000,000 in a lawsuit against ADT, not to mention within many states. For a journalist, you didn’t really do your homework.

  • MaijaL

    VIVINT has terrible customer service. Looking to switch.

    • Elizabeth Rusk

      what happened